S.D. Farmers Union Celebrates the Martinmaas Farm Family

May 12, 2017

South Dakota Farmers Union has served South Dakota farm and ranch families for more than a century. Throughout the year, we share their stories in order to highlight the families who make up our state's No. 1 industry and help feed the world. This month we feature the Martinmaas farm family from Orient. Ray and Becky Martinmaas pictured here.

by Lura Roti for S.D. Farmers Union

During a blizzard nearly 65 years ago, a neighbor knocked on Bill and Wanelda Martinmaas' door. His wife was in labor and things were not going well. Bill started up his John Deere A and drove with his young wife the half mile to help.

 On Bill's way home, his tractor got stuck. It was dark. Driving wind mixed with snow made it impossible to see. Bill was lost.

 "I had the young kids at home. I thought of those kids in the house and knew I needed to get home to them or they would freeze," says Bill, who at 90, vividly recalls the story.

 "Dad walked for quite a while, then he tripped over something. He realized he tripped over the top wire of a barbed wire fence and figured out where he was. He followed that fence and made it home," says Ray, 67, Bill's oldest son.

 At the time, Ray was 3, his brother, Randy, was 2 and their sister, Sandy, was just a baby.

 In the end, the neighbor and her baby survived. And the three Martinmaas kids? They eventually became 12. Six boys and six girls ­ Ray, Randy, Sandy, Kathy, Paulette, Rick, Lonnie, Lori, Julie, Mike, Marylynn and Brad.

 Today, standing outside the farmhouse Ray shares with his wife, Becky, father and son recall the early years.

To read more and view the photo gallery, click here


Last Modified: 05/12/2017 7:37:18 am MDT

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